This little beauty is a thing that exists at my house right now. But not for long, for it is tasty. If one were to promise not to judge the terrifying state of my kitchen, one could come over for a slice.
It was a community effort. I put hands to it, but I couldn’t have done it without the contributions of several others. The pie crust and strawberry-rhubarb recipe are from Smitten Kitchen. The suggestion of replacing the vodka in the crust with gin, which complemented this filling beautifully, came from Preston Yancey (if you aren’t already reading his blog and counting the months until his book comes out, go on and check it out. I’ll still be here when you get back.). The rhubarb was a contribution of my sister and brother-in-law, because although I hear the word in a southern accent in my head, the plant apparently does not grow in our intense southern heat. So they helped me search far and wide. The wisdom of my mother, my go-to expert on all things pie, reverberated in my mind, telling me the exact moment to stop fooling with the dough, which always comes sooner than I anticipate. Maggie fielded all my skeptical texts of “this looks too much like celery” and “this looks like the greasy crust we didn’t like that one time” and encouraged me to press on anyway.
All this help, swirling together against Beth Rowley’s rendition of Sunday Kind of Love and You’ve Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger, which I’m convinced is how butter and sugar sound when you put them to music (especially if there’s also gin involved), produced one of the best things I’ve tasted this year.
I like doing things alone. I prefer not to need others. I prefer to go into a task, only depending on me, even when that doesn’t work out so well, because then at least I can chalk any bumps or ridges up to “Oh, well, I did my best – it was a lot for one person to handle,” rather than the ache of disappointment that I didn’t get the help I wanted – that I would have had “if only ____.” I prefer not to be reminded of the “if only.”
I was told that I avoid community out of a fear of abandonment. I admitted to a fear of being left, which sounded like agreement to me when I said it, but apparently it was not, as it inspired a rather spirited defense. I suppose I downplayed the avoidance aspect, when that’s what they meant to be the theme of the conversation. Anyway, it was an exhausting exchange.
Then pie happened. And it took a whole lot of not-just-me to make it so.
It also took a measure of solitude.
It took both. Both had value. One did not take anything away from the other. In fact, both were necessary.
I know that this post is disjointed. I know that I’ve been quiet, but I’m starting to put to practice the idea of solitude and its value to community. More later.
For now – pie.